Interview: Niki Black – American Spirits

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Niki is Iranian-American, with influences that represent her mixed heritage. Her father, a Chicago native, introduced her to the blues and American classics, while her mother filled the house with the sounds of Iran – from classical music to Iranian pop legend, Googoosh.

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I love your single, ‘American Spirits’. Can you tell me a bit about the writing and recording process?

Thank you so much! The song was produced and written in one day in Taylor Wilzbach’s studio in Woodland Hills alongside the brilliant Zoe Fisher as well. It was a few days before I was leaving to move to Paris for my masters, and I was reflecting on my life experiences and how I perceived America. I always felt critical towards the unity of our country as there are so many violent realities that oppose this immortalized image of a place where the “American dream” can come true for anyone.

Are you planning to make it part of a larger release, such as an EP or album?

Yes! I have an album that I am releasing single by single called Lilith, although American Spirits was a one-off that I was planning to release after, but I was inspired to release it sooner in a reaction to the current events happening.

Who would you cite as your biggest musical influence?

Freddie Mercury or Nina Simone.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Elton John!!! He is my favorite living legend, his songs mean so much to me.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a musician?

Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

To finish with a standard interview question: where do you see yourself in five years?

Making my way on the big screen, writing and starring in a politically aware musical movie.

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